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Ballads and Poems Condemnation of Enclosure in Eighteenth Britain

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Ganev, R.
Conference: Governing Shared Resources: Connecting Local Experience to Global Challenges, the Twelfth Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of Commons
Location: Cheltenham, England
Conf. Date: July 14-18, 2008
Date: 2008
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10535/2089
Sector: Land Tenure & Use
History
Region: Europe
Subject(s): enclosure--history
common pool resources--history
property rights--history
Abstract: "Historians have had a hard time finding evidence of opposition to enclosure and the loss of common right, partly due to the local nature of the process. Nevertheless, such opposition did exist, as scholars such as Jeanette Neeson have made clear. One way in which these changes to the land were opposed was through verse. Popular ballads, together with the poetry of peasant poets as well as mainstream poets such as Wordsworth, criticized the transformation of rural England using similar ideas and language. They argued that as a result of enclosure the peasantry were not only impoverished but socially marginalized, losing their sense of community. They also expressed sympathy for those who trespassed against the new enclosure laws. This evidence adds another dimension to historians understanding of the enclosure debate."

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